International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is pleased to announce the 8th Advanced International Humanitarian Law South Asian Academics Platform (AISAAP), inviting scholars from countries in South Asia and Iran to submit their papers on the topic of ‘Climate change and the protection of the natural environment in armed conflict’. 

Successful candidates will be invited to present at the 8th edition of AISAAP on 2-3 May 2023 in Islamabad, Pakistan, and to publish their work in the Asia-Pacific Journal on International Humanitarian Law (APJIHL).  

Climate change and environmental degradation affect populations across the globe, threatening lives and exacerbating existing vulnerabilities, inequalities, and social fragility. People, communities, and countries affected by armed conflict tend to be especially vulnerable to the consequences of climate change because conflict limits their capacity to adapt and protect themselves. This is in part because conflicts – and especially protracted ones – harm assets required to facilitate adaptation to climate change, such as infrastructure, markets, institutions, social capital, and livelihood. Within those countries, vulnerable populations are disproportionately affected by food insecurity, loss of livelihood opportunities, health impacts and displacement, which are compounded by environmental degradation and climate change. People will keep trying to cope with and adapt to a degraded environment, and growing risks of floods, droughts, extreme heat, and poverty by searching for new livelihood strategies, changing their way of life or leaving their homes. 

The environment is frequently one of the casualties of war – but the damage is often not visible and environmental damage tends not to be the priority of warring parties. A certain amount of environmental harm is inherent in armed conflict, but it cannot be unlimited. International humanitarian law (IHL) does not address all environmental consequences of armed conflict, but it does contain rules that provide protection to the natural environment and that seek to limit the damage caused to it. The ICRC recently revised the Guidelines on The Protection of the Natural Environment in Armed Conflict. 

The topic can be tackled from different angles, including – but not limited to the following: 

  • The correlation between climate change and armed conflict (international or non-international armed conflict);
  • General IHL rules and principles, and their link to climate change and the environment;
  • Adapting IHL implementation to respond to climate change;
  • Legal challenges linked to climate change and displacement, and non-refoulement in armed conflicts;
  • Climate change, water and conflict;
  • Gendered impact of climate change and armed conflict;
  • Environmental migration caused or exasperated by armed conflict;
  • Applicable legal framework during armed conflicts in relation to climate change;
  • Common Article 1 of the Geneva Conventions: States’ obligation to respect and ensure respect with regards to climate change;
  • Non-State armed groups (NSAGs) and their IHL obligations in relation to climate change;
  • IHL’s conduct of hostilities obligation to have due regard to the protection and preservation of the natural environment: What are the implications for taking climate impact into account?
  • Explosive remnants of war and their impact on the natural environment;
  • New IHL Guidelines on the Protection of the Natural Environment in Armed Conflict: Identifying relevance for climate and/or water crises;
  • How does IHL address the cumulative complex humanitarian impact of conflict and climate change?
  • Assessing the role of the civil society and humanitarian organizations, specifically, the International Movement of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, to adequately respond to climate change and support the resilience of populations to adapt to the cumulative impact of climate risks and conflicts;
  • IHL implementation and other national measures to tackle climate change and safeguard the environment in States with armed conflicts or other situations of violence (OSV) – what is there and what is needed.

Eligibility of submissions 

  • Written by one person, in English;
  • Scholars from law and non-law disciplines, including political science, international relations, social work, gender studies, health studies and media, are all encouraged to apply;
  • Authors from the following countries can apply: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka;
  • The submissions should focus on the theme of the 8th edition of AISAAP, that is ‘Climate change and the protection of the natural environment in armed conflict’;
  • The proposed submission must constitute an original, unpublished scholarly work.

Submission procedure 

  • Interested candidates are invited to fill in this online form by 28 February 2023 

Selection procedure  

  • Candidates will be selected based on the academic profile and merit of their submissions while ensuring geographical representation from the region (generally two authors from each country).

Timeline 

  • The deadline for the submission of applications and abstracts is 28 February 2023.
  • Selection of candidates will be finalised and published by 10 March 2023.
  • Detailed outline of selected papers shall be submitted by the selected authors by 15 April 2023;
  • Presentation of papers during the AISAAP in Islamabad, Pakistan shall take place on 2-3 May 2023 – the ICRC shall bear the cost of travel of the selected candidates;
  • Final drafts, incorporating the feedback received during AISAAP, shall be submitted by authors by 30 June 2023;
  • Peer-review and final publication of the pieces in the APJIHL shall be completed by September 2023.

Advanced International Humanitarian Law South Asian Academics Platform (AISAAP) was initiated by the ICRC in 2011 with the aim of promoting the study of IHL amongst academicians from different universities in South Asia and Iran. The event envisages paper presentations and discussions on current developments in the field of IHL. The AISAAP aims to foster greater awareness on humanitarian issues amongst the academic community and to promote a space for Asian perspectives in the global discourse. It also provides a platform for academicians to forge networks among experts in the region from different universities in South Asia and Iran. 

The Asia-Pacific Journal of International Humanitarian Law (APJIHL) is a publication of the Institute of International Legal Studies – University of the Philippines Law Center (UP-IILS) and the ICRC. The Journal aims to produce peer-reviewed scholarly articles and book reviews, as well as commentary on significant developments in International Law, and related fields. It has a special focus on the Asia-Pacific region and it is published on an annual basis. 

For additional queries, please contact syegillani@icrc.org